Following World War II, Winston Churchill addressed an audience of war weary British who were mindful of the billions of pounds that they would owe the United States. In his speech, the prime minister asked the rhetorical question, “What are dollars?” Answering, he said that, “Dollars are the result of the toil and the skill of the American working man, and he is willing to give them on a very large scale to the cause of rebuilding our broken world. In many cases he gives them without much prospect of repayment.”
To quote “Crossfire’s” Robert Novak, “Thank God there’s an America in the world.” What other state, nation or empire has ever been so truly generous to the global community? I refer to the financial support that America has given to every corner of the globe. Were there sufficient space and time, I would recall the innovation and talent that our nation’s fertile soil has nurtured for the greater benefit of all mankind.
To be sure, the American government deserves the scorn that many in the domestic and international communities heap upon it. The repercussions of our militaristic actions past and present will continue to haunt us. To this point, I say, at least our country has a conscience. Consider the problems that the British and French colonial systems have left us. We do not see the self-satisfying Russians – eager to regain their imperialist roots – atoning for the sins of their Soviet past. And, of course, the infallible People’s Republic of China, whose government’s need to save face would never let them for one moment admit that one wrong move was ever made under Chairman Mao’s party.
So, to whom should the world turn for its pain and anger? Why the United States, of course. And as the expression wisely reminds us, it is all too easy for the ravenous to bite the hand that feeds them. We should also remember that America is the largest producer of food in the world and also the largest supplier of food to the world’s hungriest. No other country can match America’s generosity.
This altruism, much like the welfare system, has engendered a sense of entitlement. Take the snide comments of those from Europe who complained that America was stingy and too slow to respond in the wake of the tsunami catastrophe. Since the combined economic base of Western Europe nearly matches our own purchasing power, why did they not lead the charge if they were so concerned? Once again, America gave the most, via government aid, private donations and military assistance. The Norwegians could have written a check for $350 million, but they elected to sit back and let the Americans handle the bulk of that sordid matter.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, we must never forget that one of the greatest gifts that Americans bring to the world is our “can- do” philosophy. With bright optimism we lead and carry the heavy burden that is so fundamentally a part of our charge. We lead the righteous cause because others who can choose not to, and in this way we are the leading force of benevolence and beneficence. Thank God there’s an America in the world.
-The writer is a senior majoring in political science.